Yukon

Just wanted to pop in a special note.  Jen and I have a new edition to the family; a little Flat-Coated Retriever named Yukon. Known as the “Peter Pan” of dogs, they are smart, family orientated, and super loving little creatures.  Thus far, he has shown us nothing but that.

We’re already breaking down to let him sleep a night here and there up on the bed. Hey, it’s easier for us when he wakes in the morning, and it’s fun to listen to him dream and yelp at all the imaginary birds he chasing.  Here’s a few pics of the little man.

How can you say no to a face like this?

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Jasmine + Jacob

Coming to the end of the line with my engagement sessions that were won via Groupon style bidding offered by The Wedding Channel.  Yep, it was a crazy good deal, but as I said this would be a year of ‘yes’, I wanted to offer something amazing to everyone out there.  Well, it worked, and I sold out my allotted amount of E-Sessions in a few hours.  Pretty sweet.  I also have to credit all the new clients; they have been nothing but understanding, willing, and gracious subjects. Maybe cause I’m so easy to work with 🙂  Haha!  Just had to throw it out there.  It’s guaranteed that I will make you laugh and look good at the same time.

It wasn’t such a tall order with Jasmine and Jacob.  We met at Baker Beach in SF as the light was fading and managed to grab some amazing shots.  The proof is in the pudding, so read on.  Hope you enjoy!

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Megan + Jeff

Sausalito.  Since I lived in Japan and I love ‘Lost In Translation’ I always think of that cheesy hotel band when I say it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, rent the movie.  Bill Murray should have been awarded an Oscar, but the Academy is lame, so he didn’t.

Besides imprinting a strong cinematic connection, it also conjures up images of boat houses, float planes, a cute downtown, good art, and mellow people walking the streets.  So when Megan and Jeff suggested hitting Sausalito up, there wasn’t any reason to say no.  The weather was great, but the parking was lousy.  All in all, we had a great session.

Having a few laughs in the Nasturtium.

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A Good Time In The Woods

Being part of a community isn’t just existing in a place.  It also means being active within that community, getting to know people, cultivating relationships, and giving back.  Auctioning my services to help raise funds for local schools is a great way for me to do just exactly that.  It helps with education, an area in which California could use a little help, and puts me in contact with new clients – a great thing – especially in this economy.

When Charline scheduled the dates, and described her family, I was excited from the get go.  Their family is absolutely beautiful, full of “energy”, wise cracks, and grace as well.  Here are a few from that day.

Kids

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Done and Done

So tired…

Blog suffering…

Must maintain…

Sorry for the lack of bloggage all.  I have been busy to say the least.  A wedding in Colorado, and wedding in San Jose, and commercial jobs here and there have left me spent.  But I will rise above!

Hang in there people!  New blog.  New wedding.  Coming soon…

See you down the road.

-Todd

Avila Beach + Kids

I headed down to see my sister for a day, and of course baby E (not you Eric.. but it was good to see you too.) my nephew and godson.  (Call me godfather if you wish…) Of course camera was in hand with all the cute little ones running around, and I wanted to share a few images.  I mean, what’s not to love about kids at the beach?

Easton - first time touching the Pacific Ocean.

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Portraits – Prospect At A Glance – Part 2

Happy Friday to everyone.  Just moving and grooving to some We Were Promised Jetpacks, fueling my own pack up with some fresh goodness that comes out of my espresso machine daily, sometimes twice daily.  May need to cut back on that a bit.

It’s been a pretty good week, and I am hoping the weekend will bring more of the same.  Good weather, great people, and perhaps some BBQ in the old back yard.

Speaking of good people, I couldn’t resist heading back to Jefferson Mack Metal with my lights to capture a few more images of the guys in the shop.  This time I was lucky enough to snag the trio, in that Jefferson was available for a quick little session.

Here are few…

Augustine

Nick

Jefferson

I have to say, Jefferson threw me for a loop.  We were photographing at first, and he had just his black shirt on.  Then he said, “Oh, let me get my scarf, it will ad a pop of color.”  I thought, “This is perfect.”

Turns out he used to do some modeling in Europe, and I tell you, he’s still got it man!  He was turning and working the camera no problem.  It was the first time in a long time that I didn’t really have to say anything – No directing.  He just rocked the whole session.  I tell ya, you just never know what is going to come out of people’s mouths.  Here I am, in a dirty and gritty shop with a bunch of smithies, and the last thing I expected was a comment like that.  Simply amazing.

See you down the road.

-Todd

Leslie Lowe – Rock Star

Is a working vacation still a tax write-off?  I suppose it’s a valid question seeing as today, “the tax man cometh,” and we have to file those un-enviable papers to our beloved government!  But half kidding aside, toting all my gear a few hundred miles away got me thinking, “How can I write this off?”

And so with my set of lights and a brain full of photographic ideas whizzing around, Jen and I loaded up the car and took off for the High Sierra.  Our purpose:  Photograph Leslie Lowe – Rock Star.

Leslie’s the bassist in the trio I covered last fall. She’s a good friend, not to mention an amazing artist, athlete, and musician.  Opening for Ani DiFranco – Gaby, Sebastian, and Leslie – took on the East Coast with fervent energy and unabated youth.  It was an amazing experience, and one that they recently repeated with Ani in late January.

So when I found out that all the while, Leslie has been building her own solo career as well, I wanted to help her out with some photos.  With more than a few songs cut, and more on the way, I suggested that we meet over our coinciding vacations to get some images together for PR and advertising.  She was game, and my vacation turned into a tax write off with benefits.  Errr… I mean…you know what I mean!

Rocking out in the trees.

Starting out with some casual stuff, we both went through the motions at first, not putting all our energy into it.  Sometimes photographing your friends (don’t even get me started on family) can bedevil the heck out of you.  It’s funny, but when you are really feeling it, the energy will cause you to tweak an angle a bit more, or search for that little glimmer of light that you might not have otherwise noticed if you weren’t really looking for it.


I tell all my new wedding clients that an engagement session is a great idea; not because I want to make more money.  Having some experience behind the lens and getting to know your photographer a bit more always pays dividends.

As time went on, I noticed both she and I relaxed about a half-hour into the session.  (I think Kata needs to invent a gear bag with an insulated sleeve for a bottle of wine!  I would buy it, and my clients would love me for it!)

Definitely my favorite photo. The light, colors, and expression blew me away!

We started having more fun, and the stress we felt earlier vanished.  With a few wardrobe changes and tweaks of the light, we had a great little session.  We kept it fun and light, and then rocked out a bit.

Finished with the lights, we drove for some lunch and looked for a spot with access to the “golden hour.”  A few different looks are always nice.  As I drove on a shaded, windy road, a little splash of color made its way through the mountains.  We pulled the car over and down from the street was a nice little beach.  Walking down and peeking around the corner, I saw golden sand, and knew we had about 10 minutes of good light.  I managed to snap off a few images before the sun dropped below the trees.

Those 10 minutes produced my favorite photos of the day.

Thanks Leslie!  You’re great to work with.

See you down the road.

-Todd

Retreat On The Mountain

Eric grabs the wheel and explains the folly of seat-belts.

The mountains were calling, so I headed for the hills.  My good friend Eric Tucker and his fiancé Jillian call a quiet little cabin on top of the costal mountains of Carmel home for now.  Having a few days to spare, I thought I would head up and see how my friend was fairing at farming and the slow life.  Being a recent transplant himself, he was determined to grow some vegetables and compost to his heart’s desire.

You see, their goal was to learn from the land, do a bit of farming, and just be.  Eric is a stunt and aerobatic pilot for Team Oracle, and I can see the appeal of having some down time when not pulling 6+ G’s in his little but powerful Pitts biplane.

I was lucky enough to ride along in this stripped down dragster of the air a few months back.  It is nimble as it is quick, and I had the ride of my life.  How many people do you know who’ve commanded a plane the first time they’ve  flown and executed a roll, a 360° flip, and pulled out of an unintentional inverted flat spin…on their first flight? (Goose, you’ll have to punch us out!  I’m pinned against the cockpit!)  I would wager money that I’m the first.

I didn’t really know what to expect heading up to their cabin.  Was it was going to be run down and drafty?  Would they show up in just fig leaves to greet me to their new Eden?  Nah.  Eric met me at the junction where his road heads up 3000 feet to the house he calls home.  He mentioned that I would have to leave my trusty Subaru where the pavement ended and the dirt began.  I was steadfast in protecting my beloved girl.  I protested with, “But it’s a Subaru.”  I can hear mudboggers and Aussies alike snickering under their breath.  I can liken my love and blind passion to when a Brit comes to America and runs out to buy a 6 pack of Budweiser because it is “The King of Beers.”  Oh blind love, you are my bane!

Tires spinning in the mud, Eric rallies up to the summit

Taking a gander at his Jeep with oversized tires, the mud splattered everywhere along the hood, and his quiet pause waiting for my decision, I countered with, “You know, maybe I’ll leave my car here.  I mean, there’s really no reason to bring up two cars anyway.”

“Cool.  Let’s load up your gear!” Eric chimed.  It was the best decision I had made in a long time.

Opening the door, I found Chesta, (aka “Chesta Copperpot!”) our riding companion for the day.  A beagle and lab mix, she’s loyal when in eye-sight, but on her own, has that beagle stubbornness that finds her venturing alone on self guided hikes.  She would prove to be a more than a capable lead when hiking, a good playmate, and a lost child almost everyday.

Bumping Chesta over and taking my seat in the passenger side, Eric threw the transmission into low and popped the gear into first.  We started our ascension through a shroud of fog and mist.  The metal tin-can shell of the Jeep rattled and whirred as the strain of our machine echoed through its skeleton from the hardship of the climb.  I could feel the wheels spinning to gain traction – the mud slinging off in all directions – and just prayed we didn’t go off the side of the mountain.  I looked down out my window and a precipitous drop filled my vision.  Eric, sensing I was visualizing our imminent doom as  our carriage of death bounding down the hillside with our lifeless bodies rag-dolling around inside, piped up with, “Yeah, Jill and I don’t really wear seatbelts.  We figure, if we go over, probably better to be thrown from the vehicle than to ride it all the way down.”  And that was that.

Our trusty companion, Chesta, was game for any adventure.

Stopping half way up, we met a few of his neighbors out for a drive on the mud-slickened road.  They were in their big old truck, just having fun tearing up some dirt and kicking a few beers back.  I looked at my watch.  10:27 AM.  “Sheesh,” I mumbled under my breath, “what a place and time to be drinking, and never mind the activity involved.”

“Hey man!  Good to see you!  Wanna beer?” asked our friendly compadre.

“Why not,” I said.  Grabbing the beer, I popped the top and downed a few swigs.  Uh, beer in the morning when you are not ready for it, isn’t the most refreshing beverage.  But when in Rome…(and hey, I needed a little liquid courage to get up the remainder of this mountain!)

Stopping for a mid-mountain refresher, we met with some new friends.

Arriving at the house, I was happy to have made the long trip.  I unloaded my gear, gave Jill a hug, and checked out my new digs for the next two days.  I was amazed.  The cabin was beautiful, cozy, and clean.  Rustic it was, but it definitely bore the touch of a woman, which is always nice.

The Cabin commanded a gorgeous view, and a cozy fire was always burning.

Cozy and Bright, the cabin commanded a gorgeous view to boot.

Without further ado, Eric, Chesta and I headed off for a hike in the woods.  Of course Chesta was out the door like a rocket ship.  We had a great time bounding through the woods as Eric showed and named different flora species en route to the river of an old Native American site where the people would gather to mash acorns for their food.  Stepping atop of a giant boulder, we looked down into three little man made holes.  Worn through time, hands, and pestles, the area came alive with families talking of the day’s events.  Women chatted and gossiped while they mashed acorns and called out to their children who splashed and jumped around in the rambling stream.  The men were off higher up the mountain hunting deer, or fishing down by the coast.  The sun whispered shafts of light through the giant old-growth Redwoods, Madrones, and Oaks.  For a second I was lost in the past, but quickly snapped back into the present.

Of course neither these giants nor the people exist as they once had.  Sadly, industry in its greed forced the people from their land, and cut these majestic trees down for ships, fence posts, and whatever else would turn a profit at the time.  However unsettling it is to you, being miles back in this rough wilderness, I couldn’t help but think what a marvel it was that people actually came this far back, cut these massive trees down, and had the strength and ingenuity to get them to the coast.  That’s not to say I respect their decisions, but their resolve is another matter.

Chesta, resting after a nice hike.

Nibbling on miner’s lettuce as we trounced back to the house, I breathed deep and let the cool forest air wash over my lungs.  At the bottom of my exhalation, a silence enveloped me and the earth was quiet for just a second – An absolute quiet.  These forests are places of healing, and I felt so refreshed once back at the cabin.  Chesta, content as well, retired to her little Hobbit-sized settee for a nice long nap.  I followed suit, and drifted off thinking what a gorgeous life I am living.

In the next chapter of this story, I’ll touch on some funny anecdotes and good people.

See you down the road.

-Todd

Women, Be True To Yourself

What is beauty?  Watch this Dove Video and revisit the question.

Ladies, when did you get duped into believing that you should look like Barbie?  Should we all really have to keep up with the Kardashians Joneses when it comes to waist size, fashion, and our overall look? (Really, who are those people from LA, and what is it they actually do besides flit around and waste time?)  Don’t we know that most of what we see in the form of advertisement is all BS?

I came across the link above the other day and thought I would share it – because it totally blew me away.  Not only is advertising and fashion creating false hopes for women, it’s doing the same thing for men.  This video is a perfect example.  The transformation is crazy, but the manipulation of something more important is even scarier; our self-esteem.  How can you ever hope to achieve looking like (or dating) something that doesn’t even exist?

As it’s Friday, some of us will head out this weekend for a good time.   Carry yourself high, and understand that we all look different for a reason, and they are all good reasons.

See you down the road.

-Todd